Today in Islamophobia

A daily list of headlines about Islamophobia
compiled by the Bridge Initiative

Each day, the Bridge Initiative aims to bring you the news you need to know about Islamophobia. This resource will be updated every weekday at approximately 11:00 AM EST.

Today in Islamophobia Newsletter

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11 Dec 2019

Today in Islamophobia: The Conservative Party in the UK enables intolerance towards Muslims, while China claims globally that the recently detained Muslims graduated re-education successfully as the country plans to continue re-education efforts. Our recommended read today is an opinion on India’s Citizenship Amendment Bill leading the country to Hindu Nationalism. This, and more, below:


11 Dec 2019

Recommended Read | Citizenship bill puts India on a path to become a Hindu nationalist state

On Monday, India’s home minister pushed a bill in Parliament — Narendra Modi’s most brazen action to lead India away from being the world’s largest democracy to a Hindu nationalist state — with an inflammatory speech stoking Hindu victimhood. Intellectuals and commentators have called the amendment bill an attack on the Indian constitution and a distraction from the country’s economic failures. Many, like me, disagree. Since his ascent to power in 2014, Modi has been explicit in his agenda for a totalitarian, fascist regime, laying out his blueprint to “other” India’s Muslims from his first day in office. Modi’s BJP swept to power with an increased majority in 2019 for his fulfillment of those promises. The Citizenship Amendment Bill cannot be seen in isolation — it should also be seen in conjunction with the Modi government's announcement last month to implement the National Register of Citizens across the country. While the government plans to rescue and rehabilitate persecuted Hindus from neighboring countries through the Citizenship Amendment Bill, it is simultaneously seeking to disenfranchise Muslim citizens through the National Register of Citizens by labeling them as migrants and infiltrators. read the complete article

Recommended Read
11 Dec 2019

North-east India gripped by protests over citizenship bill excluding Muslims

Protesters in north-east India have set fire to tyres and cut down trees to block roads in a shutdown across the region hours after lawmakers approved the government’s new citizenship bill. The legislation, set to go before the upper house on Wednesday, will fast-track citizenship claims from refugees from three neighbouring countries - but not if they are Muslim. Islamic groups, the opposition, rights groups and others have said this fits into the Hindu nationalist agenda of the prime minister, Narendra Modi. They say he wants to marginalise India’s 200 million Muslims, something he denies. People in north-east India object for different reasons, fearing that large numbers of Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who they say are intruders, will be given citizenship. read the complete article

United Kingdom

11 Dec 2019

'The rot of Tory Islamophobia goes all the way to top'

The United Kingdom's Conservative Party has an endemic problem with Islamophobia, and its failure to deal with it has enabled a culture of intolerance and hate against the country's Muslims, critics say. Over the past year, Conservative politicians and members have posted anti-Muslim rhetoric on social media, prompting accusations that Islamophobia is prevalent at all levels, from local representatives to the top echelons of the party. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has accused the Conservatives of having a "blind spot" when it comes to dealing with anti-Muslim racism within its ranks. "It is abundantly clear to many Muslims that the Conservative Party tolerate Islamophobia, allow it to fester in society, and fail to put in place the measures necessary to root out this type of racism," the MCB said in a statement last month. read the complete article

11 Dec 2019

Tories open second investigation into Hastings candidate

The Conservatives are investigating election candidate Sally-Ann Hart for alleged Islamophobia just days after opening an inquiry into her for liking a Nazi phrase on Facebook and sharing an antisemitic slur. The latest allegations relate to a post that Hart shared on her Facebook wall in 2017, in which she described a blog by anti-Islam activist and author Cheri Berens as an “affecting read”. In the blog, Berens claimed the Women’s March against Trump in the US had been used to promote the “Muslim agenda” in the US and that the Muslim Brotherhood had hijacked the movement. She claimed this was because they want American women to have abortions to limit the non-Muslim population, adding that American women should not wear the headscarf and wherever it is worn in the world there is oppression. Berens also claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist movement founded in Egypt, want to destabilise American youth and that they control the media. read the complete article

Woman who ‘choked’ Muslim girl, 14, with hijab let off with caution

Redena Al-Hadi, 14, was on the way home from Silverdale School in Sheffield with her sister Wida, 13, when she was viciously beaten by a 40-year-old woman. The incident, which occurred at around 4.30pm on December 4, broke out when a man began shouting at the sisters’ friend and calling her the n-word, claimed the schoolgirl. Footage capturing the horrific moment showed a woman pummeling the schoolgirl to the floor after she defended her friend. The teenager was pinned to the floor and punched in the head as a crowd of onlookers try to intervene but were met with threats. Redena said the incident escalated after a man allegedly started hurling racial abuse at her friend. She claimed a young boy stood up to defend the girl after she was called the ‘n-word’ but he was allegedly punched. The schoolgirl explained she tried to get her friends off the bus but the woman approached her saying her ‘hijab was making her sick’. She said she was then dragged off the bus by her head and was beaten. read the complete article


11 Dec 2019

Aung San Suu Kyi Defends Myanmar Against Rohingya Genocide Accusations

A day after Daw Aung San Suu Kyi listened at the world’s highest court in The Hague to testimony of the horrors inflicted upon the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar — veils ripped off girls before their rapes, babies thrown to their deaths, hundreds of villages turned into kindling — the Nobel Peace Prize laureate on Wednesday defended her homeland from accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice. “Genocidal intent cannot be the only hypothesis,” she said in day two of public hearings, adding that her country’s own judicial system was investigating any possible crimes and would be reaching its own conclusions. Presenting what many human rights experts have called some of the worst ethnic pogroms of this century as the result of “cycles of intercommunal violence going back to the 1940s,” Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi chided outsiders for not having an adequate understanding of Myanmar’s complex ethnic and social makeup. While saying that it could “not be ruled out” that the Myanmar military may have used “disproportionate force,” Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi criticized “impatient international actors” and said that “it would not be helpful for the international legal order if the impression takes hold that only resource-rich countries can conduct adequate domestic investigations and prosecutions.” read the complete article


11 Dec 2019

China claims without providing evidence that all Muslims it detained in re-education camps have ‘graduated’ and are happy

China has issued a strident defence of its Muslim “re-education camps” in the face of growing international condemnation, with a top official claiming everyone held there has now “graduated” and is happy. Uighur Muslims and ethnic Kazakhs who had been detained and made to study Mandarin, law, vocational skills and deradicalisation at the indoctrination camps had found “stable employment and improved the quality of their life” with the help of the government, insisted Xinjiang state governor Shohrat Zakir, himself a Uighur, on Monday. Nonetheless, he suggested the Communist Party would continue its re-education efforts, and did not say whether those deemed graduates were now free to resume ordinary lives. Groups such as village officials, farmers and unemployed high school graduates would still be enrolled in programmes that allow them to “come and go freely”, Mr Zakir said, calling those courses “daily, routine, normal, and open educational training”. However, Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities from the region said their family members continued to be arbitrarily detained in camps and prisons. read the complete article

11 Dec 2019

Facing Criticism Over Muslim Camps, China Says: What’s the Problem?

On Twitter and YouTube, with slick videos and strident editorials, the Chinese government has gone on the offensive to reject mounting evidence that it is detaining Muslims in droves, depicting its critics as players in a Western conspiracy. China’s aggressive media campaign comes after exposés published by The New York Times and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists about the government’s drive to detain a million or more members of largely Muslim minority groups in indoctrination camps. At a news conference in Beijing on Monday, Shohrat Zakir, the chairman of the Xinjiang government, dismissed the congressional bill as “crude meddling in China’s internal affairs.” He sought to foil the criticism by saying that the facilities — which Beijing calls vocational training centers — were now holding only people who were there voluntarily. Others who were previously in the facilities had “graduated,” he said, providing no specifics and declining to say whether they had been released. read the complete article


11 Dec 2019

Quebec’s Religious-Symbols Ban Hurts Women—and Everyone Who Depends on Them

The law, known as Bill 21, was ostensibly passed to enshrine official secularism, but it’s a reflection of Quebec society’s entrenched fixation with limiting displays of Islamic faith, especially the hijab—an obsession of right-wing pundits in the province’s French-language media. The ban affects some state employees in positions of authority, such as police, judges, crown prosecutors, and public school teachers, and its popularity with Quebecers made it a third rail for national politicians during Canada’s recent federal election. However, in the months since Bill 21 was rammed through in June, it has had an immediate negative effect on the livelihoods of Muslim women. This is largely because most of the employees affected by the ban are public school teachers—75 percent of whom, in Quebec, are women. (The law does not cover workers such as day care employees, college or university professors, or custodial or secretarial staff.) Some people have agreed to remove their hijabs at work. Some religious families have decided to leave the province. Although the law also prohibits the wearing of turbans and kippahs, the burden of the ban has been overwhelmingly borne by Muslim women; there have been no debates about whether a male teacher can wear a religious beard. The phrasing around what constitutes a “symbol” is deliberately vague; all the government has said for sure is that a tattoo of, say, a cross wouldn’t violate the law. The application of Bill 21 to public school teachers reveals that the Quebec government is playing the long game: It wants to prevent the hijab and other markers of non-Christian faiths from becoming normalized. Prohibiting students from coming into contact with women who wear hijabs or men who wear turbans reduces the likelihood that the next generation will oppose measures to marginalize those communities. Many critics warn that Bill 21 is a slippery slope—that it’s a gateway to banning religious symbols in other parts of society. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 11 Dec 2019 Edition


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